Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This post doesnt include one of my canes, but it does include one of my original waterslide decals.
This piece is entitled, The Yellow Rose of Florida and features a focal bead of cernit clay that has been adorned with my yellow rose decal. I borrowed a bit of stringing technique for my Swarovski crystals from a best of Bead and Button book.
All in all, I am very pleased with the end result!
Sometimes, it is just FUN to play in clay!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My latest venture has been into tab beads. I was working on creating some plain white tabs for my waterslide decals using some cernit and as I was playing around with shapes and sizes, it occured to me that I could take my regular round floral beads and transform them into tab beads.
Here are some of the results of that particular activity.
These are the perfect size for a complete bracelet with a enough room to tuck a watch face into it. Of course, it gave me pause to jot down a note to develop watch bead kits!
These are a bit larger and would be great on necklaces or lanyards.
Individually, they could become a pendant or a cell phone bead.
The smaller ones are the right size for a pair of funky earrings.
I am enjoying creating these and my work station is now covered with my floral canes and leaves so that I can create a ton of these.
Watch for so much more!!
OH - BTW - I would really appreciate a vote for me in the National Geographic photo contest. Please vote for me in the National Geographic photography contest http://bit.ly/mnYAt
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I did 5 new sets that are busy drying now and I will post the photos as soon as I can get the photos shot.
Neat beads! I will be doing a lot of these as I work to clean out my stash of floral canes next!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I just finished creating over 65 sets of new polymer clay beads.
I have been meaning to get to my stash of kaleidoscope canes for a very long time and suddenly just decided that I was going to use up this massive amount of clay that I have been stashing.
These beads took me all week to work on - a little at a time when I would get home at night from work at the newspaper.
I still have 5 HUGE canes left and 4 of my smaller kaleidoscopes that I want to use. I did this so I could make more :) I had run out of room!!
So, the beads are done, they are for sale on Blue Morning Expressions and here is a preview.
The cane work was done for the most part of CAG designs, another young lady and myself.
Head over to www.bluemorningexpressions.com - these are all on sale for our 5th anniversary.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I have added a new trick to my bag of polymer clay goodies.
Many of my designs have been added to polymer clay bead sized waterslide decals.
Watch for beads in the future!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is a simple standard, everyone should have at LEAST one flower cane in their toolbox kinda cane!
Great for filling in spots, adding some stark contrast and in general giving your beads a bit of depth.
These two kaleidoscope canes were a simple use of some extra clay that I had laying around. My purple has gotten hard - well it came to me hard when I had it shipped and I haven't had the heart to toss it out. I think it got hot in shipping and it is a bit baked here and there. But I did find some softer spots in it (it is a pound block - I am hesitant to toss it out) so I did some custom mixing with white and then some blue to get some useable clay. The right hand side cane consists of tiny stripes of white and lavendar clay that was the result of trying to get my mix right. It doesnt show in this photo but it will bring a nice texture to a finished bead. I think I might keep this for myself.
The other cane was a combination of left over pieces from the first one and a couple odd ball blends that I tossed in for good measure. These are one of those this is all there is sets and I am planning on using the left hand side cane for a set of beads that I am creating to donate to a raffle for our local women's shelter. I decided to create a couple sets of beads and make some jewelry for the raffle.
These are my latest and I have a lot more clay spread out on my workbench to play with :)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I have been busy working on creating new canes and beads and in my downtime, one of my favourite pastimes is to surf the web looking for beads, canes and other things that spark inspiration and make me go "ooooo" "ahhhhh".
I recently got with the program and joined Facebook. Before you laugh, I must admit that I had no idea what it was all about but knew that it was somehow something that would be beneficial to the furthering of my business life.
What I did discover was, who cares?? I found some old friends on there and was joyfully reunited with them, I discovered my old high school classmates on there and a whole ton of folks from my hometown that I remembered from back then. I got to look at old photos from where I grew up and to see some of the more recent changes and I got to wander into a great polymer clay cane group.
Here is the link to those great folks who have tirelessly put creative energy into creating some wonderful canes. You might recognize a few of the names - if you are a steady reader of the Polymer Cafe magazine (a subscriber since the beginning) you will recognize canes and beads and other goodies.
From this link, be prepared to be catapulted into flicker galleries and you tube demonstrations and to be amazed, delighted and stuffed full of eye candy!!
entertain your eyes and create some new canes.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Welcome to the intriguing world of polymer clay.
There are a few things that you need to know to get the most out of your raw clay canes from Blue Morning Expressions.
Canes are fragile, keep them wrapped with clean deli wrap or saran wrap and stored in a dry cool place. I tend to keep mine in the crisper drawer of the fridge in a covered plastic container. Do not store them without the protective wrap, the plastic of a container will interact with the cane and there is the potential for destruction of the cane.
Canes are created from individual colors of polymer clay, both premixed colours and custom colours and then shaped and blended to create each of the details that you see in the overall cane. The whole cane can be the size of a dinner plate before reducing down to the small cane you hold in your hand.
Canes can be used to decorate beads, can be sliced as beads, can be used to cover glass and plastic or anything else you can think of. A newly discovered use for canes is to slice them and place them on the fingernails and cover them with a clear polish.
The trick to using canes is to slice them tissue thin with a tissue blade or a blade dedicated to cane slicing. Sculpy and Kato make some nice blades as well as AMACO. Keep your blade straight up and down on your cane and watch your fingers. From experience this little sharp blade will separate you from a nice swatch of skin before you know it and you won’t feel a thing at the time. It isn’t called a tissue blade for nothing.
Clean your blade with rubbing alcohol should it start to drag on your clay when you cut. If the blade drags, it will actually drag your design down the face of what was going to be a bead. Work slowly and steadily and you will do just fine.
Never, ever, ever use a tool for clay and then turn around and use it to consume food from or use with a pet. Even though clay is considered non-toxic, it is standard procedure in the industry to always sacrifice a tool to the clay and retire it from human food use. Just to be on the safe side.
Periodic baking in the family oven will do no harm but if you are going to become clay crazy, then it is considered a good move to get a dedicated oven for your clay habit. I am quite happy with my little toaster oven that resides in my garage and have been happily production baking for over 3 years in it almost daily without any problems at all. I do have a nice little oven thermometer in it and am know my ovens peaks and spikes from continual use. I do believe in baking lower temperature and baking longer for a more controlled baking.
1-Start by preheating your oven to 265 degrees.
2-Chill your canes in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
3- Set up a work station that has a firm flat surface that can withstand a blade on it. (glass from picture frames or ceramic tiles work great because you can cut your cane and bake it flat on the same surface)
4-If you are not using a piece of glass or tile for your baking, you will need to decide which of your baking utensils you want to permanently dedicate to clay baking.
5-After all is ready to go, begin by taking your clay cane and setting it on its side on your cutting surface. Decide how thick/thin you want to slice your beads and make some preliminary measurements. I tend to lay a ruler next to the clay and make my marks lightly with my blade in the top of the cane. Once you are satisfied with the thickness, take your blade and hold it on each end and slice down. It helps to be taller than the cane and look directly down at it so you get a nice even slice. No need to slice quickly, the blade is sharp, take your time and slice gently. This is why I chill my canes first, they slice more evenly and smoothly and it is easier to control.
6- Leave yourself room for error. If you need 10 beads, then measure out 13-15 so that you have wiggle room. Canes can never be exactly reproduced so it is imperative that you allow yourself room. We can recreate canes with the same colours but the end product is never the same.
7-Once you have all your beads sliced and assuming you are using a tile or glass to bake on, lay them flat and using a knitting needle or bamboo skewer center pierce them for charm beads or use a bead needle for a through and through pierce. If you are not using a glass or tile to bake on, use a small metal pan like a cake pan and line the center of it with parchment paper if you choose. Otherwise use the bottom of the pan. Do not use foil, your bead will be shiny on one side if you do.
8- For a small thin bead, bake them at 265 for about 15-20 minutes. Anything less than this and the bead may not cure in the center and anything much more than this you run the risk of burning it. Take a look at it after 15 minutes and make sure that it is not burning. The rule of thumb is 15 minutes for ¼ inch.
9-Remove from the oven and let them cool down. If you are using translucent cane slices, dropping them directly into ice water will help to enhance the translucence and create a clear clay. Otherwise, a simple cool down is sufficient.
10-Beads can be left unfinished with varnishes or they can be given a shiny glaze, it is up to you. I like to give mine a thin coat of Minwax polyurethane waterbased varnish in the wood stain section of the hardware store. It holds up and gives it a nice protective coating and a pleasant shine. I also will do 3 or 4 grit wet sand on my beads and a buff before I do my varnish.
11- String or wire wrap as you would any other bead/gem/stone and enjoy the one of a kind creation that you have just made.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Only 4 of these canes. One is on etsy and 3 are on www.bluemorningexpressions.com
I will not be repeating this particular pattern and currently ALL my raw canes are on sale on BME. They are 40% off.
My latest thimble and cuff bracelet projects which include my original polymer clay canes.
The bracelet is from my mokume gane cane which for some reason has fascinated me with it's muted shades and the more neutral tones that are scattered in it. This bracelet is my own personal one - the bracelet is part of a set of beads that include my DIY pierced earrings and my pillow beads for necklaces. I did manage to get an extremely smooth and soft finish to this - I just over stuffed the bracelet due to the nature of the cane. I wanted a lot of depth to it and in order to achieve that, I needed to over layer the cane slices.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
A lot of times I just tell you about the canes that I have created but never tell you about the end product. Here are some loose beads that have been created using some of my more recent canes. I also did 4 thimbles and a cuff bracelet but all of those things are busy being cured and sealed. I will post them when I get them done :)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I have been remiss in developing new canes but I did get a chance to do a new flower cane. This one is as brilliant as it appears and I really like the blend of the white in it. I only managed to clip off 5 pieces of it though, for some reason, I didn't make it very big.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
These little thimbles have my latest canes on them.
I have a lot of beads that were covered in these canes and I also have a couple more flowers that didn't photo very well. But this is the offering for the evening.
Now, I am going to take myself off to bed!
Monday, February 23, 2009
I wanted to do something colourful and not flowers for the moment and I had some extra bits and pieces of clay laying around on my work station so I just started rolling jellyrolls and some stripes and then some more jellyrolls and then I did a skinner blend of blue and white and then I added some more jellyrolls.
One of the really cool things about doing these types of canes is you just never know what you will get and I was pleasantly surprised when I started piecing it together and saw the way the colours worked together. I had my misgivings as I was smashing them all in but when it came out, I was reminded of first a gold and blue macaw (kind of like feathers in there) but then it struck me that this was the same colour as a parrot fish of the salt water persuasion.
Both of these things are entertaining to the eyes.
I still need to go back and lay the pieces out neater and sharpen the edges on it but I wanted to let it rest and take the photos.
If you hadnt noticed, my favourite workstation is on top of a piece of acrylic that you buy in the hardware store. It is an 8x10 clear with the blue plastic still on the bottom. It makes a great even surface and it withstands my abuse and wont break and cut me like my last piece of glass did.
Can't wait to go and use up some more of my scrap clay!
PS - this is a complete Fimo Cane in case you wanted to know and it is about 3 inches long and 2 inches in the face.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Only one offering off the workbench today.
I did a simple red and yellow blended flower. I didn't have any red flowers so I thought I needed to add one to my collection. Enjoy it. It is available for purchase on my etsy site, my bonanzle site and one in ebay.
I spent my morning translated my old artwork into xstitch patterns for my new site www.x-stitch-patterns.com which is up and wobbly!
Enjoy the cane!
Julie and Blu
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I also am showing the small tiny flower cane that I accidently over packed. It will do well in a cluster to create a floral border of some sort.
Following that are two focal beads that both are adorned with the latest batch of floral canes and leaves. I try and use all my clay up in some fashion or another.
I have more raw clay sitting on my work table just BEGGING to become canes, I will post them as I finish them :)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I decided to do a couple kaleidoscope canes and some more flowers since my flowers are selling like crazy and I wanted to have some more options for folks. I sat down and created a couple sets of beads; pillows, rounds with white chryssie canes on them, two floral focals with my pink, purple and orange flower canes, and a set of cane small slices for lanyards and the likes. In the meantime, I was trying to decide what colours I wanted to use for my new kaleidoscopes.
It was cool and it was raining so I went for more of the bright colours and ended up with what could only be described as CIRCUS!
This bright coloured cane will end up in ebay in about 5 minutes but for now it is strutting it's stuff here.
I also did a mini flower cane that I havent taken a photo of yet. It started out like my other flowers but I added one slight layer too much transluscent on the outside and it was a little bit thick. I decided to reduce it down to almost pencil eraser size and will bunch them with leaves for a bouquet look.
I will get those up here too.
I have more canes coming.
Thanks for reading,
Friday, January 16, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Happy New Year!
I am a bit behind these days with working on sites and doing a lot of cane work and beadwork. I have a handful of new canes that I want to share. Many of the kaleidoscope canes were done as part of a bead project that I was commissioned to do for a woman in NC. She purchased 1500 individual beads and 150 of them had different kaleidoscope designs on them.
This primary color one is a simple cane that I did for something entirely different and was not part of the bead commission.
The cab at the top shows the two flower canes being used. The small purple flower has been reduced down considerably and bunched for filler flowers. The original cane is the same size as the yellow flower.
I did over 2 dozen tube beads as well.
All my recent beads can all be seen at
www.bonanzle.com is the newest and the best ebay alternative out there. Enjoy your visit there and if you sign up, please say you were refered by saracom. One of my other stores on there.